Die-hard NBA fans as well as those of us who make the rounds while engaging in a friendly round of online sports gambling will surely have noticed that the odds on various sports betting websites have the former NBA champions, the Dallas Mavericks, as having a slim chance of mounting a successful attempt at the NBA Championship in the upcoming 2013-14 season. Similarly, much of the talk surrounding the Dallas Mavericks in the build up to their first game of the new season against the Atlanta Hawks on October 30 is leaning towards doom and gloom. However, considering that recent history suggests that the Mavericks perform best when the media is against them so perhaps that could work in their favour – it may well be that some basketball pundits Dallas are being written off well before it is safe to do so.
Whilst the Mavericks have undoubtedly been on a steady decline since their monumental 2010-11 championship-winning season, we must remember the team went into those NBA Finals as underdogs, and went on to play some of their best basketball in the face of adversity. Central to this spirit is the talismanic presence of Dirk Nowitzki who, according to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, has ‘a value that goes far beyond what you see on the court.’
On why he won’t trade Dirk
Mark Cuban: “Dirk defines our culture. When your best player, no matter how old, is the first one in the gym and the last to leave, and works the hardest and encourages guys the way Dirk does … that has a value that goes far beyond what you see on the court.”
Nowitzki is, undeniably, nearing a point where his age will dictate how much of an on-court role he can play and it remains to be seen whether he will make an attempt to reach out to other teams during the 2014 off-season – but the intention that is outlined by Mark Cuban’s comments speaks volumes about the pack mentality that the Dallas Mavericks will need to weather the storm and once again reach the heights that they are capable of. More from the no-nonsense owner of the Mavericks can be found on his official Twitter page.
Part of the reasoning behind Cuban’s comments regarding Nowitzki’s future is surely the recent revelations surrounding Lamar Odom’s personal life and its possible effect on his brief tenure with the Mavericks. It is no secret that Odom and Cuban clashed during his time with the Mavericks, and many Dallas fans look back on the player as a huge gamble that went awry for the team. A big name signing from the Los Angeles Lakers, Odom was signed in the hopes of helping the team defend their first NBA title, but it soon emerged that his heart was not in it, and in light of recent events there is speculation that his drug use could be to blame. To see such a waste of talent is always a real shame, but for Dallas fans the fall of Odom and its contribution to the team’s decline in general was particularly tragic.
That said, the Mavericks roster is strong – even considering the departure of Odom in 2012 and the possibility of Nowitzki leaving Dallas in the near future. Earlier this year, Forbes magazine valued the Mavericks as the fifth most valuable NBA team, just behind names like the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls, which says something about the quality and depth of their roster as it stands at the moment, bolstered by several acquisitions in the off-season, including veteran Samuel Dalembert.
As of the time of writing, one of the best online gambling sites, Bodog88.com, offers odds of 50/1 for the Dallas Mavericks to win their second NBA title in the 2013-14 season. The Bodog odds for the Mavericks next season would seem to imply that they are a long shot, and whilst they are certainly not the favourites to go all the way, as a well-rounded team with a track record in getting the results they need when the chips are down. Sites like the Bodog sportsbook used for betting on sports are unlikely to be offering low odds for Dallas because, honestly, a title win for them would be a big surprise.
That being said, the Mavericks have surprised people before – and perhaps this season they will pull off a big surprise once again.